Named in the middle of the 19th century by the German scholar, Baron Ferdinand von Richthofen – the greatest East – West trade route and vehicle for the cross cultural f_uzbakistan.jpg (14964 bytes) exchange. The early trade in silk was carried on against incredible odds by great caravans of merchants and animals travelling at a snail ‘s speed over some of the most inhospitable territory on the face of the earth through waterless deserts and snowbound mountain passes. The journeys of China’s emissary, Zhang Qian, in the third century BC brought the Han Dynasty (206 BC – AD 220) into political contact with the many kingdoms of Central Asia and opened up the great East – West trade route. The long route was divided into areas of influence both political and economic. The Chinese traders escorted their merchandise beyond the Great Wall to Loulan, where it was sold or bartered to Central Asian middlemen – Parthians, Sogdians, Pakistanis and Kushans – who carried the trade on to the cities of the Persian, Pakistan, Syrians and Greek merchants. Each transaction increased the cost of end product, which reached the Roman empire in the hands of Greek and Jewish entrepreneurs. At Kashgar there were many choices. Some went westwards over the Terek Pass across the Oxus River to Merv . Others crossed the high Pamirs to the south near Tashkurgan and went over the Khunjarab Pass and down into Pakistan. Either through land route crossing the desert of Cholistan and Tharr to port of Thatta or through boats from different river ports of Pakistan. It takes 40 days river journey from port of Lahore to reach Thatta for onward journey to Port of Aqba (JORDAN) and to Rome (ITALY).